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What Can I Do About Overeating?

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I think I have a problem with overeating. What can I do?
- Maya*

The first thing to do is to figure out if your overeating is something that happens occasionally or all of the time. We all eat too much every now and then, like on holidays.

But if you're overeating often, there are some things that might help you avoid doing so. For example, instead of eating when you're not hungry, find other ways to keep yourself busy, like taking a walk or talking on the phone. Put your food on a plate or in a bowl and sit down at the table to eat — don't eat out of a bag or container. And don't eat meals or snack while doing something else, like watching TV or doing homework — that's a set-up for overeating!

Binge eating, also called compulsive overeating, is different from simply overeating. People with binge eating disorder feel a compulsion (a powerful urge) to overeat. They regularly eat unusually large amounts of food and don't stop eating when they become full. With binge eating a person feels out of control and powerless to stop eating while they're doing it, then may feel guilty or ashamed afterward.

If you think you may have an overeating problem, talk to a parent or doctor. Treatments are available that can help you feel better about yourself and have a healthy relationship with food.

Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
Date reviewed: October 2011

*Names have been changed to protect user privacy.

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Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses and treatment, consult your doctor.

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